Red : The other color of terror

5 11 2008

Source: mutiny

The news that the convoy of Buddhadev Bhattacharya, the West Bengal chief minister escaped being mined and that naxalites are the ones being accused, will draw attention to Left wing terrorism once again. Although left wing terrorism and insurgency affects large pieces of the country, it has never had the kind of visibility that it needs to have, mostly because their terror is wielded largely in rural India where television cameras don’t whir.

This violence of course shows the level of fragmentation in the leftist movement within india over the decades and the “establishment” left – those who get to speak in parliament or the state assembly and become ministers and the others. The establishment leftists ride those white ambassadors, go to television studios and give press conferences and in states like West Bengal and Kerala, run industrial establishments that can give any traditional capitalist a run for their money.

The contradictions that are becoming evident between the ultra left and the left (ironically there was a time when the CPI (M) itself was considered ultra left!) will add another twist to the convoluted history of the communist movement of India. The Communist Party in India was founded in Kanpur on December 25, 1925 in the midst of an anti-colonial struggle which attempted changed India’s political landscape in a fundamental way. It placed on the agenda the creation of a state power of workers and peasants by workers and peasants to end all forms of oppression and exploitation.

The policies of the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Part of India (Maoist) and most other fragments of the communist movement that began 80 years ago is today a far cry from the revolutionary rhetoric posted in their web sites. The largest communist groups today are fine tuning their political positions to come to power just like any other bourgeoisie party that they supposedly have contempt for. The many fragments of the underground communists – supposedly allied to Maoist ideologies of various shades have only one thing in common – their penchant for violence.

Left wing violence( not calling it terrorism) is probably the oldest form of organized ideology terrorism that exists in India with its roots in the pre independence and immediate post independence era when BT Ranadive had launched an armed struggle in Telengana in the period around 1948-50. This was subsequently called off and Ranadive accused of “adventurism” but subsequently rehabilitated.

The next major bout of violence is now the subject of folklore and inserted the word”Naxalite” in the Indian political lexicon. It also was the first instance when insurgency and terror was successfully tackled by equally tough counter insurgency measures and state repression. State repression thought not new by this time – (it was always in use in the troubled North East), had matured enough.

Yet Naxalites were never completely wiped out, not quite. The Naxalite terror now extends to a dozen States, affecting 509 police stations. For the first time naxal activity has been recorded in two police stations in Haryana. The menace has spread to nearly 40 per cent of the country’s geographical area with the affected population going up to 35 per cent. Areas in many States, which looked too obscure to fall for naxal influence, are today witnessing naxal activity.

Although the cousins of the Naxalites in Nepal, the Maoists have been won over to the ballot, the Indian Maoists have so far resisted this – partly because they see the example of the main line communists which did join parliamentary politics and what they see of left front politics is not too inspiring or different from the bourgeoisie parties which they had sought to uproot.

Further more the government’s own response of treating this only as a law and order problem hasn’t helped very much, as it only made the Naxalites dig in their heels deeper and go further underground. One does not know where the left wing insurgents would be placed in the spectrum between cultural nationalists and plain terrorists given that this classification is religion based and the Naxalites are of course atheistic in their ideology. However, whatever it may be, given that this has been around much longer than most other forms of terror and insurgency, it wont get lost in the current melee where we seem to have time for only right wing terrorism and nothing else.





Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

29 08 2008

August 28, 2008 17:38 IST
source: Rediff.com

Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

Not the Maoists, everyone except some senior state government authorities maintain.

Even the top brass of the state police say it is improbable that Maoists were responsible for the murder of the Swami and four others at his remote ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Saturday night. A senior state police officer said the modus operandi of the murders do not provide substantial evidence that the Maoists may be involved.

Here are the facts of the murder after preliminary investigations:

  • On Saturday, the ashram was celebrating Janmashtami, when around dinner time, a group of 30-40 armed assailants surrounded the place.
  • Eyewitnesses said about four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had country made revolvers.
  • Two of the four home guards stationed for security had gone to eat and only two of them were guarding the premises.
  • The assailants tied down the two guards, and gagged them.
  • They then sought out the Swamiji within the premises and opened fire on him.
  • The recovered bullets show they were from an AK-47, the police said.
  • The assailants then warned the guards not to raise an alarm and fled the scene.

Within minutes of the reaching the crime scene, the district authorities made a statement saying it was suspected Maoists who killed the Swami.

“Isn’t it far fetched? District authorities blaming a particular outfit within minutes of arriving at a crime scene?” asked Ashok Sahu, a retired IPS officer, who specialises in left wing extremism.

There are two reasons given as to why the state could have taken the Maoist line. The first is obvious, observers say.

“In December 2007, the area witnesses some of the bloodiest violence Orissa has even seen after the Swami was attacked by Christians. The state might have wanted to avert a repeat of the communal clashes and therefore could have pinned the blame on the Maoists,” one of them said.

Sahu said there could be more to the government’s action than this.

“Elections are coming in a matter of months. The state has failed miserably in tackling the Maoist insurgency. A government that has been terrorised by the Maoists may in turn be trying to terrorise the people in the name of the Maoists” he said.

Why are so many people ready to debunk the government’s Maoist attack theory so readily? The main reason is modus operandi of the execution.

“The central committee authorises the killings and the outfit issues statements owning up to the murders they commit. So many days after the murder, there has been no statement from the Maoists,” a senior police officer said.

Sahu points out the following: “The five attackers who the locals caught and handed over to the police are not Maoists. They are from the region.

“Moreover, I see no reason why the Maoists will spare the policemen on duty. They would have killed them. Then, there are the leaflets that were thrown around the ashram in a very amateurish way. The Maoists are very organised. If somebody is carrying an AK-47 he must be at least a commander. And if there are four commanders to marshal the mob, there wouldn’t have been indiscriminate firing like what we saw. And last but not the least, I have never heard or seen Maoists wear masks and hoods.

“They see themselves as revolutionaries. They never care about whether they are seen or not. In fact, I would say, they would very much want to be seen,” Sahu said.

Then, the most important question? Did the Swami’s activities in the jungle in any way make him an enemy of the Maoists? “Chances are very less. He was working for the welfare of the tribal people and against forced conversions in the region. There is nothing that suggests the Maoists would see him as a class enemy,” a senior officer said.

A local outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch said the Swami had mentioned to an office bearer that some Maoists had joined him in a program he had organsied for the tribal people. “One day last year, I was talking to the Swami on phone, and that time there was a lot of concern about his security. So, he said, don’t you people worry. The Maoists are not a threat to me. In fact some of them are here with me,” said Lakshmikanth Das, an officer bearer of the HJM.

But do these factors clearly rule out the role of the Maoists? It is tricky, say many experts who have been following left wing extremism. “The best way this could be phrased is: ‘We do not rule out the involvement of the Maoists’.” Sahu said.

There are many reasons why the experts are undecided. “After the December 2007 clashes, even the Hindu outfits agreed that the Maoists are working in tandem with militant Christian outfits,”

Sahu agreed: “A lot of Maoists were converts to Christianity and were involved in the December violence. But this attack does not look like their work,” Sahu said.

The Maoists have long claimed that most of Orissa falls under the ‘liberated zone’. Kandhamal district with its desnse forest cover is a haven for them. In fact, the police had claimed that the recent attack on a police party in Nayagarh, where the Maoists dealt a spectacular blow to the Orissa police, was planned and coordinated from Kandhamal.

If not the Maoists, who could have killed the Swami? The needle of suspicion swings towards the militant Christian outfits. “Let’s face it, said Sahu, “even in times when the Maoist-militant Christian nexus was a possibility, there were numerous attacks and attempts on the Swami’s life.”

“There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

“The government’s responsibility to bring those responsible to book increases when you take into account the fact that the Swami received an anonymous threat only a week before he was killed. The local SP did not even register a case after the Swami lodged a formal complaint. They have to answer a lot of questions or this issue will snowball into a bigger issue than the December violence,” Das concluded.

The onus now rests on the government, which has been boxed in from almost all sides.

It has been shown up with regards to tackling Maoists, with consecutive attacks. It’s inadequacy in putting a lid on communal tension in Kandhamal have been exposed by the on-going violence in the district. And with elections looming, how it tackles the current crisis will go a long way in deciding its political future.





UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.





UP constitutes special task force to tackle Naxal menace

31 07 2008

Source: Express India
Lucknow, March 20
In the wake of seven more districts of the state coming under the Naxal influence, the government has now constituted a separate Special Task Force (Extremists) to tackle the Maoist problem. Sources said that a DIG-rank officer would head the new force.

The government’s move comes just after the conclusion of a meeting of the Naxal Task Force (NTF) in Lucknow this week. Earlier, only three districts of Sonebhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli were supposed to have a considerable number of Naxals but the recent reports of the central agencies point to the presence of presence of Naxals in other seven districts of the state, including Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Deoriya, Banda and Ballia.

“The problem of the Left wing extremism is in Allahabad and Chitrakoot districts as the Naxals have almost completed their preliminary stage of growth and have now established their own units,” a source said. The knowledge about the spread of Naxals to new districts of the state came after some Maoists were arrested from different parts of the state. “During their interrogation, they said about their attempt to make inroads in the remote areas of the state.

“The Bundelkhand region comprising Chitrakoot, Banda, and Mahoba have been Naxal target for long. They also want to spread it to Jhansi,” he said.

The officials believe that Naxals have made inroads in the state through the bordering Naxal-affected districts of Bihar. “Ballia district shares border with the Bihar’s Buxar district, which figured in the list of Bihar’s Naxal-affected part. Moreover, Bhabhua and Rohtas districts border Ballia,” the source. Presence of Naxals in Allahabad is not surprising as Shankargarh is notorious for explosive supply to anti-socials.





Melsunka: A haven for Naxals

31 07 2008

source: New Indian Express
Tuesday November 27 2007 08:41 IST

Manjunath Hegde

SHIMOGA: Melsunka village in Hosnagar taluk has neither road connectivity nor power supply, but people still stay here as KPCL paid them compensation in instalments after the village became a restricted area in the backwater of Mani Dam of Varahi Power Project.

Away from the civilian world, lack of facilities and impenetrable rainforests have made this village an ideal hub for Naxalites. It is feared that the youth here are slowly turning towards Naxal ideology.

Melsunka village of Sulgodu GP in Hosnagar taluk has 87 families and they have to walk 18 kms to Yadur to buy something.

They are cut off from the outer world. The only entry to the area is through Mani Dam, with permission from KPCL.Villagers of Kumribailu, Ultiga and Melsunka depend on forest products like bamboo and a few are engaged in agriculture.

After the entry of Naxalites, villagers say that the Forest Department personnel have stopped harassing them. A village without any civic amenities, Melsunka has become a favourite hide-out for the Naxalites. Whenever there is a fight between the policemen and the Naxalites in Amasebailu area of Udupi district, it is said that the Naxals rush to Melsunka region which is just a one-hour walk away through the ghat section. Whenever the police head for the village, Naxals disappear into the forests.

It may be recalled that a pamphlet was recovered from a camp deserted by Naxalites near Amasebailu, which showed that they had plans to blast Mani Dam, which is very near to Melsunka.

However, Hosnagar CIP SK Prahlada said no untoward incidents were reported from the area so far. Residents of this hamlet do not say a word either against policemen or favouring Naxalites. Alarmingly, a couple of Naxalites including Parvati, who was killed in Idu encounter, were from this village. Police say that the Naxal team wandering in the surroundings of Melsunka is ‘Varahi Dalam’, and they often visit Melsunka whenever they need grain and vegetables.

Interestingly, the village which had roads and electricity 30 years ago, has nothing but backwater and forests everywhere today. The youth here get offers from Naxals to join their group.





Why do Naxals hate NGOs? A case study of Bihar

31 07 2008

Monday, 02.04.2008, 01:20am (GMT-7)
Source: India post

Naxalism is a grave problem in Bihar. According to a March 2007 document of the Bihar Police, 30 of its 38 districts have been affected by Maoist activities. Maoist violence is endemic across the state’s territory. The fight against the state by the Naxalites is explicable.

But, why do they hate the NGOs? The ground reality provides many reasons for this hatred. First, the power of the Naxal outfits is the people, the masses. They fight for the downtrodden, the poorest of the poor, the lowest castes.

For instance, the Naxals fight against the state to bring social justice to the Dalits. At the same time, the NGOs also work for the betterment of the downtrodden and poorer sections of society. Thus begins the rivalry for custodianship between the two.

There are, however, fundamental differences in attitudes and approaches between them. The NGOs work at the grassroots and associate themselves with the masses. They seek to empower the Dalits through non-violent methods.

They inform the people about existing government schemes for the poor and often influence government officials to being proactive and helping the downtrodden. Through the Right to Information, many Dalits claim their rights to shape their future. These initiatives by the NGOs delink the Naxal outfits from the masses.

There are many such examples. The Musahar community is one of the most marginalized in Bihar that faces exploitation and discrimination. There are many NGOs working for their betterment in Bihar, but a number of them have received threatening calls to shut down their projects or face the consequences. A school run by an NGO was shut down in Gaya district, for example.

Children, who studied in the school, probably know nothing about the Naxalite movement, except that their school has been closed now because of the Naxals’ frequent demands for money. Second, the extortion money collected from government officials is immense.

There are many developmental projects for the poorer sections of society and the Naxalites claim their share in almost all these schemes. These projects are convenient and easy prey for the Naxals to establish a channel for sharing this booty. Their collection programs target forest contractors, businesspersons, civil contractors, villagers and government officials, including the police, in some areas.

The developmental activities run by the NGOs do not share the booty with the Naxals. The Naxals cannot directly demand a share from the NGOs, nor can they directly threaten them, as this would expose their pretensions to provide social justice.

The NGOs, therefore, become a consistent irritant for the Naxals. Third, there are many cases where school-going children have been picked up by Naxal outfits from the Dalit community. They advocate that education will not bring any change in their future lives, but that the bullet can restore their lost social status. Therefore, these children turn out to become hard-core Naxalites.

Fourth, since the Naxal outfits are unable to fight the NGOs directly, they have started their own registered organizations. There is speculation that a number of NGOs in Bihar are funding the training of Maoist guerrillas.

The writer is PGT, Teacher Koilwar, Bhojpur, Bihar





Naxals news

31 07 2008

For more news on Naxals

Source: Indian Express
Full Coverage > Taking on Naxals

26 Mar 2008

Probe slams officers, staff for largest Naxal jailbreak

An administrative inquiry into Chhattisgarh’s Dantewara prison break on December 16, 2007 where 299 prisoners…

03 Mar 2008

Naxalites shift gaze to urban areas, think of car bombs, suicide missions

Seized Naxal laptop suggests bid to acquire urban warfare capabilities, training in anti-aircraft guns

29 Feb 2008

This station has weapons, Internet, mineral water, needs a few more cops

“I am giving you a constable. He will drop you off there and come back.” When Circle Inspector of Chennur police station…

28 Feb 2008

How do you win back 11 villages from Naxal control? Check with these 75 policemen

“One number sentryiiiiiiii…, hoshiyaaaar hai”. The loud, long-winding call in the dead of night breaks the silence in this village…

27 Feb 2008

If Naxals can have special squads, why can’t we, ask cops

Naxals frustrate Jharkhand cops by fleeing to adjoining states

26 Feb 2008

In Naxal’s latest den, police station can’t fill up vacancies

With barely a dozen cases being registered every year at the local police station…

25 Feb 2008

No electricity, no phone, this Bihar police station has only God to thank

Each day, when Sub Inspector R L Thakur gazes at the setting sun falling behind the hills facing his police station, he shivers.

24 Feb 2008

Fighting a war with two mobikes, one phone and no drinking water

A tiny room, one light bulb, a table and a chair, an AK-47 hanging from a nail on the wall, a cot in one corner with four bamboo sticks…

For more recent news features related to this topic, please click on a link to the left.

Naxals set ablaze four RTC buses and two vans
Women naxal killed in an exchange of fire

Naxals hijacked two tourist boats
Blasts boats as retaliation to killing of naxals

Revolutionary organizations get together for merger
Two revolutionary women organizations come together

Naxals kill two constables

Naxals on the scene again

Naxals peace talks – Security responsibility by Police

September 30, 2004: PW and Janasakhti Rally in Hyderabad draws large crowd

September 20, 2004: 9 States conference on Naxals

August 26, 2004: Former PWG militant kidnapped in Kurnool

July 30, 2004: Cases against PW emissaries may be withdrawn

July 28, 2004: People’s War Warangal meeting a grand success

July 20, 2004: Talks with naxals are in progressive side – YSR

July 4, 2004: Proposed move on talks with naxals

June 14, 2004: No response from naxals for talks

PWG / Maoists
Maoists killed three police men at a close range.
CM visits family members of policemen shot dead

Maoists strikes Atmakur(M) Police Station
Kills SI, ASI and a Home Guard

Ban on Maoists extended for one more year
Decision taken at State Cabinet Meeting

Kidnapped constable killed by Naxals
Constable belongs to Sukuma Police Station

More features on Maoists





Naxalites Human rights violations: ACHR

21 07 2008

The Naxalites in killings.

They have been responsible for killing of at least 120
persons during April – June 2006, including 38 security
personnel, 75 civilians and 7 Naxalites in internecine
conflict. Of them, 26 persons, including 14 security
personnel and 12 civilians, were killed in improvised
explosive device explosions allegedly triggered by the
Naxalites.
The Naxalites have been responsible for gross
violations of international humanitarian laws including
abduction, hostage taking, torture, hacking to death,
shooting from point blank range and trial by Jana Adalat,
peoples’ court.
Representatives of ACHR met some of the released
hostages kidnapped by the Naxalites from Manikonta
village in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on 25 April
2006. The Naxalites abducted 52 tribal villagers, including
13 women while they were returning from Manikonta
village to the government-run relief camp at Dornapal in
Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. The villagers being
sheltered at the relief camp had gone to Manikonta village
to bring their personal belongings. The Naxalites killed 15
villagers in custody and released the rest. While the bullet-
ridden bodies of two abducted villagers were recovered on
28 April 2006, bodies of 13 other villagers were recovered
from a deep forest with slit throats. The bodies also bore
multiple wounds. The rest 37 persons were released on 29
April 2006 after warning that they would not join the
Salwa Judum programme of the government.
The released hostages told ACHR representatives
that their captors “selected” 13 hostages, tied their hands
from behind and blindfolded them. Then, the rebels
stabbed them repeatedly before slitting their throats
before other hostages. The hostages were allegedly denied
adequate food and forced to drink urine when they
demanded water.

Bihar
On 24 April 2006, suspected Naxalites gunned down
six civilians, including a panchayat poll candidate, Mr
Ashok Kumar Singh while returning home after
campaigning for elections at Deojora village in
Aurangabad district. Six others were also injured. The
alleged Naxals also set fire to the dead bodies.
Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh continues to be epicentre of the killings
resulting into massive violations of the right to life of the
civilians.
On 8 April 2006, alleged Naxalites shot dead three
Salwa Judum activists including Toda (40) and Krishna
Rao (35) in a pre-dawn strike at Kunnapara in Gangalur
under Dantewada district. The Maoists reportedly
rounded the Salwa Judum activists and opened
indiscriminate fire on them, killing three on the spot and
injuring six others.
On the night of 18 April 2006, suspected Naxalites
killed a Salwa Judum activist identified as Chamruram
Raiti, son of Sampatram Baiti, near Mirtur village in
Bijapur police district. Raiti was allegedly dragged from his
house, brutally tortured in front of other villagers and was
later hacked to death.
On the night of 13 June 2006, alleged Naxalites beat
to death Samaru Ram, Sarpanch of Edka village under
Narayanpur police station area in Bastar district after he
was sentenced to death in a Jan Adalat for allegedly
demanding a police station in the village. The alleged
Naxalite cadres dragged the village Sarpanch out of his
house and organized a Jan Adalat in the night where he
was brutally thrashed with rod and lathis in full public
view. The Sarpanch succumbed to his injuries.
On 14 June 2006, alleged Naxalites killed two Salwa
Judum activists including Telam Koaram, head of the
Tumnar village in Bijapur. The alleged Naxalites
reportedly surrounded his house and beheaded him with
a sickle.
On 19 June 2006, alleged Naxalites mercilessly killed
7 villagers and injured 3 others after attacking
Chikuarguda village in Dantewada district. Alleged
Naxalites raided Chikuarguda village and took hostage
about 25 people. Then they reportedly shot, beat and
stabbed to death seven villagers. Three others were
injured. Some houses were also looted and burnt.
Maharashtra
On 16 May 2006, at least 12 people of a marriage
party from Chhattisgarh were killed on the spot when
Naxalites triggered an improvised explosive device
between villages Halewara and Petha in Gadchiroli
district. The victims included three women and two
children. The CPI-Maoists tendered an apology stating
that the civilians were targeted by mistake and assured
action against those responsible for the “negligence”.
On 16 June 2006, Naxalites allegedly beheaded an
Adivasi identified as Alal Lagatu Kantigal (42) suspecting
him to be a police informer near Savargaon in Gadchiroli
district. The deceased was dragged out of his house early
in the morning and beheaded.
Jharkhand
On 3 June 2006, alleged Naxalites killed three alleged
members of the Village Protection Group – Sukara
Munda, Guruchan Munda and Soharia Munda – by
slitting their throats at Hadian village under Gurabanda
police station limits in East Singhbhum district.
On the night of 3 June 2006, alleged Naxalites killed
a villager identified as Yashen Ansari on the charges of
being a police informer at Barwatoli village under
Chandwa police station in Latehar district. The alleged
Naxalites reportedly barged into the house of the
deceased, picked him up and killed him in the nearby
forest.
On 17 June 2006, alleged Naxalites killed an
innocent villager identified as Shyam Sundar Singh after
trying him in Jan Adalat in the forests of Banehesla in
Lohardaga district. The Maoists’ Jan Adalat charged the
deceased of being a police “informer” and he was brutally
tortured. He succumbed to his injuries after he reached
home at Siram.
On the night of 22 June 2006, alleged CPI (Maoist)
cadres reportedly shot dead five activists of a breakaway
faction Maoist Communist Centre-Third Conference at
Bhuiandih village in Chatra district. Earlier on 21 June
2006, two CPI (Maoist) cadres were shot dead by
MCC(TC) activists in neighbouring Latehar district.





Red banner of terrorism

9 07 2008

From Daily pioneer

Francois Gautier

Mao Tse-Tung and his Little Red Book may have been all but forgotten in China where the revolution has been overtaken by free market economics. But here in India, Maoists continue to spread their deadly tentacles through terror and intimidation

It is not often nowadays that one can praise the Government. But in the case of Maoism, one has to, for not only everything has been tried, from negotiation to coercion, but the Government is facing a deadly and ruthless enemy which does not hesitate to kill and maim, so sure that it is in the sincerity of its purpose.

In most of the world, Communism is practically dead. One cannot call China a Communist country anymore — indeed, there may not be a more ruthless capitalist nation in the world today. Even Cuba is slowly inching towards free trade.

In India though, not only is Communism alive, but it is flourishing. You will find Communist Governments in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. The present Congress Government, till the opportunist Mulayam Singh Yadav stepped in, owed its survival to the Communists.

Communists are often not corrupt, they live a simple life and are committed to their cause, which is not always true of other politicians. Unfortunately there is also a darker side: Indian Communists have totally aligned themselves with Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung, to the point that not only are they anti-spiritual, particularly targeting the Hindus, but often anti-Indian. They will never criticise China, for instance, and even support the Chinese in case of tensions between New Delhi and Beijing.

There is an even more dangerous aspect: It is when Communists take to arms, what we know as Maoism. The far Left movement, which is basically a Maoism-inspired armed struggle, began as a violent peasant uprising against landlords at Naxalbari village in West Bengal, on May 25, 1967 (hence the name Naxalism).

It is true that Naxalism and later Maoism may have risen out of a sense of injustice, seeing how there are still unforgivable disparities in certain parts of India which have suffered for centuries from caste discrimination, exploitation by landlords and the lethargy of the local administrative and political system.

But today Maoists are largely driven by the goal of capturing political power. For, Maoists are very clear about their objectives and they freely quote from Mao Tse-Tung: “It’s (Maoism’s) purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure.”

Indeed, if one looks closely at Maoism today, one sees murder, rape, kidnappings, extortion, money laundering and human rights violations. As many as 16 of India’s 35 States and Union Territories are affected by Maoism. It affects 192 of India’s 604 districts. This prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare : “It would not be an exaggeration to say that the problem of Maoism is the single-biggest security challenge ever faced by our country.”

In the last 12 months, the Maoists have redoubled their effort to break up Indian society: On March 15, 2007, Maoists massacred 16 officers of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force, 39 Special Police Officers and injured 12 others at Rani Bodli village. On October 27, 2007, Armed Maoists massacred 17 people, including a former Jharkhand Chief Minister’s son at Chilkhari village of the State’s Giridih district. On December 16, 2007, in a daring jailbreak, 110 Maoists escaped from Dantewada Jail in Chhattisgarh. On February 8 this year in Orissa 300 rebels, including 100 women, gunned down six policemen at a police reserve which houses an armoury as well as others at a training school and two at Nayagarh police station in the heart of the district town. The Maoists also took away over 1,200 state-of-the art rifles and one lakh live bullets. It would seem that the Maoists are within striking distance of Orissa’s capital, Bhubaneswar, which is barely 100 km away.

Sometimes, the media says Maoist violence is on the wane. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Maoists have a ‘budget’ of Rs. 60 crore for carrying out its armed struggle during 2007-09. This money has been raised abroad by NGO’s abroad. Meanwhile, emboldened by the success of Nepal’s Maoists in virtually seizing power, Maoists in India have recently released a stunning declaration outlining their programme.

The Government has tried everything to contain the Maoists: Negotiation, counter-insurgency measures, and arming tribals. But with little result. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has now initiated a dialogue with Maoists to convince them that the gun is not the only solution.

His teachings and initiatives have transformed many villages in Maoist-hit areas of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. During his visits to Bihar, more than 100,000 youth from warring factions have taken a solemn vow to spread the message of non-violence.

Recently he initiated a much-needed Peace and Reconciliation conference in Oslo, Norway, to focus on internal armed conflicts in South Asia, particularly Maoism. Norway’s Special Envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann, Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, the Deputy Mayor of Oslo, were among the prominent speakers.

The Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism FACT, while aware of the terrible inequalities that still exist in India and which provide a fertile ground for Maoism to spread, is mounting an exhibition on Maoism as a threat to national unity, at Habitat Centre, Palm Court Gallery, from July 8 to 13.

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New left still maintains the old heroes

7 07 2008

Wednesday June 18 2008 09:25 IST
Francois Gautier
From: Newindpress.com

WHEN we were young, our heroes were Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, or even Pol Pot. Of course, in time, we learnt about the crimes of Mao, who killed millions of his own people — Pol Pot, of course was even more of a monster. Stalin was not much better.

Thus, in most of the world, communism is practically dead. One cannot call China anymore a communist country —indeed, there may not be a more ruthless capitalistic nation today — and even Cuba is inching towards free trade. In India though, not only is communism not dead, it is flourishing ! You find communist governments in West Bengal, partly in Kerala or Tripura and the present Congress government owes its survival to the communists.

In a way, it is positive. You see a youth like Nandan, filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s son, who was a “Red Volunteer” at a recent CPI-M meet in Chennai. Or you come across an ardent communist like Dr Binayak Sen, now in jail. Communists often live a simple life and are committed. Witness the youthful leader Sitaram Yetchury.

Unfortunately, there is also a darker side : Indian communists have totally aligned themselves with Lenin and Mao, to the point that not only they are antispiritual, particularly targeting Hindus, but often anti-Indian. They will never criticise China and even take sides with the Chinese in case of tensions between Delhi and Beijing.

There is an even more dangerous angle: when communism takes on an armed face. In India it is naxalism. The naxal movement, basically a Maoist-inspired armed struggle, began as a violent peasant uprising against the landlords at Naxalbari village in West Bengal on May 25, 1967. It is true that naxalism may have risen out a wounded sense of injustice, seeing how there are still unforgivable disparities in certain parts of India which have suffered for centuries from caste discrimination, exploitation by landlords and the lethargy of the administrative and political system.

However, the naxals are clear about their objectives. They freely quote from Mao: “Its (Maoism’s) purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure.” Indeed, if one looks closely at naxalism today, one sees murder, rape, kidnap, extortion, money laundering and human rights violations.

Today, 16 of the 35 States and Union Territories have Maoists operating. This affects 192 of India’s 604 districts. In the last twelve months, naxalism has redoubled its efforts to break up Indian society. On March 15, 2007, Maoist rebels massacred 16 officers of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force, 39 Special Police Officers and injured 12 others at Rani Bodli village. On Oct 27, armed naxals massacred 17 people including a former Jharkhand chief minister’s son in Chilkhari village of the state’s Giridih district. On Dec 16, in a daring jailbreak, 110 naxalites escaped from Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada Jail. There are many other examples.

Sometimes, the press says that the menace is on the wane. Nothing could be further from the truth. The naxalites have a budget of Rs 60 crores for their armed struggle during 2007-09. This is raised abroad by NGO in countries like Norway, where there is some sympathy for them. Furthermore, emboldened by the Maoists in Nepal who have not only conquered the countryside, but come to government, Naxalites in India have recently released a stunning declaration:

* We pledge: To coordinate the people’s war with the ongoing armed struggles of the various oppressed nationalities in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and other parts of the Northeast.

* To build a united front of all secular forces and persecuted religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

* To build a secret party apparatus impregnable to the enemy’s attacks.

* To build open and secret mass organisations among the workers, peasants, youth, students, women and other sections of the people.

* To build the people’s militia in all villages in the guerrilla zones as the base force of the PGA (People’s Guerrilla Army). Also build armed self-defence units in other areas of class struggle as well as in the urban areas.

The Government of India has tried everything to contain the naxalites: negotiation, counter-insurgency, arming the tribals, but with little result. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation has started a dialogue with the naxalites to show that the gun is not only solution.

His teachings and initiatives have transformed many villages in the naxalite-dominated areas of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. During his visits to Bihar, more than 100,000 youths from warring factions such as Ranvir Sena, People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Centre vowed to spread the message of non-violence.

He also recently initiated a much needed peace and reconciliation conference in Oslo, Norway, on April 11, which focused on the internal armed conflicts of South Asia, particularly naxalism, and discussed possible solutions and means to solve them. Norway’s special envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann, Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, Deputy Mayor of Oslo were some of the prominent European speakers in the conference.

Finally we can only conclude by quoting Ajit Doval, Former Director, Intelligence Bureau : “Taking the trends of the last five years, we can build a model of the security scenario for the year 2010. Over 260 districts, nearly half of India, would be naxal-affected where the government’s writ hardly runs.”

Is the naxal dream of a Red Belt, from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, become a reality? We hope not. For the ancient Indian way of life, the Dharma, offers other solutions.

The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of La Revue de l’Inde. He lives in India.